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  • Marvin Cesario

Forecasting for a healthier tomorrow

I believe that spreading the word about the mission of Unilab Foundation is my calling. I am proud to be an ambassador, in and out of the office, to my friends and my family, online and offline. Offer me a cup of coffee, and I can share with you what we do to build a healthier Philippines.

It was a big milestone for all weathermen in the world as they--well, including me, a frustrated weatherman--to witness the formation of the strongest storm ever recorded. I never imagined that I will be able to witness such fury. Our only hope was to pray that it will not make landfall. A week after the storm was formed and named “Yolanda” (international name “Haiyan”) experts predicted that it will hit the Philippines. And on November 7, 2013, it did.

I remember watching the live updates in the morning news when it hit Tacloban. It made me realize how vulnerable our planet is. We have experienced several typhoons coming in and out of our country, but Yolanda was one of a kind.

This storm really had an emotional impact to me, compared to the other storms that lashed the Philippines. I have several friends working in Manila, some of which have families in Tacloban. I was with my friends during this tragic event, and we were waiting for electricity and communication lines to be restored in Tacloban. We wanted to check if their families were safe. I can still remember how sad I felt during those times, and I wonder how much agony my friends felt. This tragedy changed me as a person, and how I see life.

“No time to waste,” I told myself. The big question is, “how can I help?” Or, “how do I start?” All I know is that during that time, help is needed in Tacloban. I was lucky to have friends and family who have big hearts, and in our unique ways, we thought of means to help the survivors. I got involved in various volunteer activities with the Social Welfare Department, and partnered with individuals who were willing to share their time and resources.

After weeks of being a volunteer, I thought to myself: why don’t I make volunteerism a long-term endeavor? Probably something that has a bigger impact. That was when I decided to put my expertise into good use. I looked for a job in a non-profit organization, and I landed in a post in Save The Children. It was a huge career move for me; all my life, I’ve always worked in the corporate world. I remember my job interview with Save The Children; I was very honest to say that I do not have any foundation experience, but I was there to contribute my expertise in ensuring that all the funds will be properly managed and accounted for. I worked with them for a few months, but its biggest impact was that it made me realize that working in a foundation gives me a purpose.

After completing my job in Save The Children, I was already bound for an opportunity abroad. I was waiting for my papers to be approved, and during those times, I turned down several employment opportunities here in the country. What made me think twice was an opportunity offered by Unilab Foundation (ULF). My family and friends were arguing why I am even considering to let go an opportunity that I’ve waited for years. They even asked me why I am putting them ahead of my needs. I just smiled back, with a very excited heart and mind, and I accepted the job with ULF. I did not only sign to be the part of the Finance team, but I also signed in to be part of their mission to build a healthier Philippines.

As the Finance Manager of ULF, I ensure the timely preparation and completion of the Purchase Orders and Check Vouchers, not only to fulfill the requirements, but more importantly, to deliver the promise of health to the beneficiaries of the Foundation. How fulfilling it is to see the Play It Forward kits and toys being purchased and deployed to children survivors of typhoons in communities, and in hospital play spaces. It is also heartwarming to see that we were able to deliver the coloring materials of Vico Cham, our employee with Autism, which is essential to his work as our Administrative and Graphic Design Assistant.

I believe that spreading the word about the mission of Unilab Foundation is my calling. I am proud to be an ambassador, in and out of the office, to my friends and my family, online and offline. Whenever we have a fundraising event, I am ecstatic to tell everyone about ULF. Offer me a cup of coffee, and I can share with you what we do to build a healthier Philippines.

Every conversation ends with me asking them, “So what are you waiting for? Apply now at Unilab Foundation!” You will always feel rewarded every day. Here, I always feel that my efforts are appreciated, and everything that I do contributes to what we are building for 100 million Filipinos. I think I can stay here forever.

They say, spend your time wisely. As for me, I spend my time wisely by helping others. I’m telling you, you will become a different person when you start to help others. Your perspective will change. These days, most people spend their time at work. So why not do something worthwhile that can change lives?

Working in a foundation is not easy. It requires patience, time, and effort yet I believe this is the career that I want to pursue for the rest of my life. Why? First, I found my purpose here, which is to give back. Second, it is really, really fun working in ULF, which we call as “fun-dation.” I’m very happy to be working with my team here in ULF, as we fulfill our mission to build a healthier Philippines for the 100 million Filipinos.

If you are still deciding whether you’ll leave your job and work with us, you can start by volunteering with us. Sign up as a volunteer or be a donor today. Any amount or time that you give, when we pool them in, is a great help in building a #healthierPH.

Marvin Cesario is the Finance and Administrative Manager of Unilab Foundation. He loves weather forecasts, outdoor activities, food, and numbers

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